Skadden Advises Coke in Monster Deal: Business of Law

When Coca-Cola Co. (KO), the world’s largest beverage company, agreed to swap some brands and buy a 17 percent stake in Monster Beverage Corp. (MNST) for about $2.15 billion, three firms got involved.

Jones Day represented Monster, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP advised Coca-Cola.

The Jones Day team was led by partners Bob Profusek and Andy Levine, both mergers and acquisitions, and included partners David Wales, antitrust, and Ed Kennedy, tax.

The Skadden team representing Coca-Cola included partners Martha McGarry, Thomas Greenberg and Peter Serating, mergers and acquisitions; Bruce Goldner, intellectual property and technology; and David Rievman, tax.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP provided antitrust advice for Coca-Cola. From Cleary were partners Mark Leddy, Nicholas Levy and Leah Brannon.

As part of the deal, Coca-Cola’s energy drinks -- NOS, Full Throttle, Burn, Mother and Play -- will be transferred to Monster, according to a statement Aug. 14. Monster, meanwhile, will shift Hansen’s natural sodas and juices, Peace tea and Hubert’s lemonade to Atlanta-based Coca-Cola.

Under the agreement, the two companies will share marketing, production and distribution. Coca-Cola, which already distributes Monster in the U.S. and Canada, will expand the arrangement globally, helping the energy brand grow overseas.

The investment fits Coca-Cola’s strategy of taking equity stakes in promising new brands and technologies, especially as its main source of revenue is under threat from a shift to healthier habits. In May, Coca-Cola said it would boost its stake in Keurig Green Mountain Inc. (GMCR) to 16 percent, making it the coffee brewer’s largest shareholder.

Litigation

David Boies Helps Al Gore Sue Al Jazeera Over Current Deal

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore sued Al Jazeera, claiming the satellite news provider owned by the Qatari royal family owes him and a partner $65 million from a deal to buy his network, Current TV.

Gore, 66, and Joel Hyatt, another former Current TV owner, accused Al Jazeera American Holdings I Inc. of fraud and breach of contract and are seeking undisclosed damages in a sealed complaint filed Aug. 15 in Chancery Court in Wilmington, Delaware. The men said Al Jazeera illegally tried to seize $65 million in escrow funds tied to the $500 million buyout.

“Al Jazeera America wants to give itself a discount on the purchase price that was agreed to nearly two years ago,” David Boies, a lawyer for Gore, said in a statement. “We are asking the court to order Al Jazeera America to stop wrongfully withholding the escrow funds that belong to Current’s former shareholders.”

Buying Gore’s channel and rebranding it gave Al Jazeera America access to about 43 million U.S. homes. Gore was to make an estimated $100 million on the sale of the network, which he helped to start in 2004. After debt, he was to gross an estimated $70 million for his 20 percent stake, people familiar with the transaction said last year.

Dawn Bridges, a spokeswoman for Al Jazeera, said last week that the network’s lawyers are reviewing the lawsuit.

Boies, 73, represented Gore in the Florida presidential-election recount in 2000.

The case is Gore v. Al Jazeera, CA10040, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).

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Firm Moves

Richard Aaron, an energy lawyer, joined the government policy practice group of Dykema Gossett PLLC. Aaron, a member in the firm’s Lansing, Michigan, office, previously practiced at Warner Norcross & Judd LLP.

Baker & Hostetler LLP said litigator and antitrust lawyer Carl Hittinger has joined the firm’s Philadelphia office. Hittinger was previously a partner and co-chairman of the antitrust and trade regulation group of DLA Piper LLP.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ellen Rosen in New York at erosen14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net Andrew Dunn, David E. Rovella

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